Family & Friends Picnic at the Lake

We're doing the usual big picnic by the lake, on Saturday, August 13, 2pm - ???? at Loyola Beach (Greenleaf and the Lake).

Usual plans apply:
Come when you can.
Bring what you want.
Toys, Games, Food and Fun For All.

Invite anyone else who would enjoy it too.

Let me know if you need directions or more details.

Annual Insley Family Picnic

We're doing the usual big picnic by the lake, on Saturday, August 14, 2pm - ???? at Loyola Beach (Greenleaf and the Lake).

Usual plans apply:
Come when you can.
Bring what you want.
Toys, Games, Food and Fun For All.
Invite anyone else who would enjoy it too.

Andrew and Stacey Insley will be in town to represent the Southern contingent.
Currently, the Bentleys will be absent, but maybe that can change in the new few weeks.

Opinion request

Opinion request time:

Background: The kids school has a raffle each year.  Tickets are $100 each. 2000 tickets are sold, bringing $100,000 to the school.
Grand prize is $50,000, with smaller prizes down to 20 $1000 prizes.
Raffle tickets cover some of the required fund raising for the school, so each year we buy some tickets.
To make it more exciting, we write the kids names on each of the tickets.

So, kind of a surprise, but P's ticket was pulled for one of the $1000 prizes.

Now, our dilemma follows:  How do we handle P (who's only 12 remember) and the winnings?

A) Keep the money ourselves (the parents), since we bought the ticket anyway.  (Savings account, then spend on normal expenses.)
B) Put all the money in an account for P, to be spent on "worthwhile" things
C) Give all the money to P to spend as he wishes (some veto rights reserved)
D) Some mixture of percentages for (A), (B) and (C)
E) Something else

Some suggestions so far:
1) The parents get $350, since we spent that on all the raffle tickets this year.  Donation to the school gets another $100 or $200.  Then P gets to pick some nice treat that we wouldn't normally do (train / river trip, Wis dells/waterpark, dinner/movie) for the remaining $500.
2) $750 goes to savings, $250 goes to P, to decide what he wants to do (veto reserved)

I'm actually quite interested in what other people suggest to do for this.
I'm not sure what we'll decide.


the Senate Gallery in Washington DC

During our vacation, we got a Capital Tour from one of the interns for our senator (Richard Durbin).  She also had passes to the Senate Gallery, which we visited on Wednesday evening.  This was during the Sotomayor nomination, where the senators could add their statements to the official record.  We arrived as one of the "no vote" senators was discussing two of the cases that raised questions for him.  The whole situation is kind of surreal: The chairs / desks are empty except for the person speaking and the official recorder.  There are a few people on the podium (mainly pages and party representatives).  And of course the camera for C-SPAN.

We saw Al Franken reading his statement into the record.  I had been following some of the drama over the vote count and knew once he was finally admitted.  This was his first time speaking before the Senate (even though there wasn't anyone there...)  He spoke very eloquently about the changes that he's seen over the last 5 years, where the Court has been supporting power / establishment over individuals and the disenfranchised. He discussed the role of the court to provide a balance against powerful interests, rather than being an additional force in their favor.  It was a very powerful statement and I was quite impressed. (Whether he will be pleased with Justice Sotomayor's rulings remains to be seen.)

Spaceport Sheboygan!

We're getting the last bit of work done to prepare for the big rocket launch in Sheboygan, WI this weekend.
We *seriously* underestimated the amount of time the kids would need to build this thing.
The whole payload issue was also less than ideal.  Not many ideas, not sure if it will work.
Also, we have so many kids in the club (which is good) that it made it hard to have everyone busy once we focused on the one rocket.
There was much whining when not everyone got to use the spray paint....

Anyway, wish us luck.  Drop by if you don't have any plans for the weekend.
I've never been up for this, but it looks pretty cool.....

I'll update with some pictures once we're back home.

Math & Science Club and Rockets

Activities at M & P's school's Math and Science Club are going well, although with never enough time crammed into the 45 minute before-school Tuesday morning sessions.  We already did lots of weather monitoring stuff (although building the weather station is going to wait until next year), Lego Music Boxes and we're getting ready for the big rocket push.  This year, in addition to the A rockets we did last year, we're also going to participate in the Rockets for Schools event in Sheboygan, WI.
It should be a great time!  What could go wrong??
(An update after May 16 will be posted.)

Valentine's Day

This is pretty political (for me):

In November, California passed Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal.
In December, a suit was filed to invalidate all the marriages that had been performed between May 2008 and November 2008.
(kind of a "salt the ground" attitude.)

Anyway, please take a few minutes, listen to a beautiful song and enjoy lots of pictures of love.